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What? Could The Magna Carta Be "Homophobic"?

October 17, 2017

Ah, yes...“homophobia”—a fine pejorative propaganda term, liberally sprinkled throughout modern moral debates.  In a few short syllables, proponents of same-sex “marriage” may demonize anyone who reasonably opposes the homosexual agenda—and even laws that simply affirm marriage as being between one man and one woman.

Perhaps it is only a matter of time, then, before leftist historians discover threads of “homophobia” lurking in the Magna Carta, drafted circa 1215 A.D.  This would be no small thing, for as professor Anthony Esolen recently reminded us, much of our modern liberty is rooted in the English Magna Carta. Could it be that the so-called “religious right” was alive and well some nine centuries ago, cannily inserting “homophobic” principles into civil law?    

As silly as it would be to think that the same-sex “marriage” debate raged in the 1200s, it happens that Professor Esolen inadvertently revealed one of the metaphysical reasons why marriage between one man and one woman is something radically different than any same-sex relationship.  In the April, 2011 edition of First Things he writes: 

By signing Magna Carta, the king conceded that there were many centers of authority besides his own, from that of his enemy the belligerent duke down to that of the free man in his home.

These other centers of authority were embedded in a history of their own that rightly commanded reverence. Therefore the right of inheritance is the most jealously guarded liberty in Magna Carta. You may not pillage a man’s castle simply because he happens to have died. We mistake the matter entirely if we consider such a right only in terms of wealth retained. The right of inheritance allowed a family the same kind of being extending through the centuries that the nation enjoyed. It honored the family as not merely a biological happenstance within the state but as a metaphysical and political reality that preceded the state.

Note that it was the fact of procreation perpetuated through familial generations that created the demand for inheritance rights.  Recognizing those rights in law acknowledged the natural family’s unique role as the self-sustaining, self-governing unit that predated (and formed the foundation of) civil society.  And as Magna Carta demonstrated, those rights fostered a system of limited civil government with its inherently broader scope of liberty—strong, multigenerational families thrive best where the government intervenes least. 

Now, same-sex relationships can mimic the natural family by importing a child into the relationship or contracting with a third party to produce one.  But it is scarcely plausible to think that subsequent generations of such artificially constructed families would naturally follow, so as to give rise to a claim for inheritance rights. 

This all strongly suggests that opposing the homosexual agenda has nothing to do with irrational fear (which is what a true “phobia” is) of the advocates of same-sex “marriage.”  But it has a lot to do with protecting the philosophical bases that have been proven to foster stable, just societies that maximize liberty, and done so for millennia. 

Thus, when ADF opposes same-sex "marriage" in the civil realm, it isn’t defending some “homophobic” limitation of rights, as our opponents love to claim.  ADF is instead defending liberty on a deeply reasoned, philosophical foundation.  This, ADF has done for well over a decade, and this ADF will do, with the grace of God, for some decades to come.